She was one vacation picture away from losing her job,
he, one tweet away from losing his career,
& so they chose to be judged by their actions
rather than their thoughts.
She scrolled down her friend list,
unfriending those she had never known,
but who had been watching her life more than she ever knew.
It took a body hours to die in Earth space,
but years to die in cyberspace,
for families kept the social media accounts
of their loved ones alive,
hoping one of their messages would reach
Her son’s Facebook page–
deactivated after his death by his wife–
was like an erasure of the man she had loved
longer than his wife ever would.
They each lived a double life,
sharing a secondary one.
They each had a spouse,
who knew not what their other half did,
for their lovemaking
was merely the tapping of keys.
I Am a Slow-Speaking Lady
I am a slow-speaking lady,
a cracked Southern belle.
I am a Pollyanna at times,
an H.L. Mencken at others.
I am a Christian outside church,
a skeptic, a questioner, inside.
I am a lover of old things,
a user of new things.
I am okay and not okay.
I go by no other name—
no Mrs., no Dr.,
and never Sally.
I am someone’s brown-haired,
I am a Lucy,
looking for her Ethel.
I am a bra-hating
stuck in a society
stuck on teats.
I am a 35-year-old mama
playing her gender role
to the cross.
I am a black Irish,
number the stars.
I am an open book,
a woman of mystery—
right down to the
I am unilaterally deaf,
bilaterally blinded by
what is going on in the world,
for mine is a series of
I am strong as spider’s silk,
as vulnerable as Hitch’s
I am all these things;
I am more than these things,
for there is no end
to that which makes me,
When she gave birth to the daughter
who would cause her screams,
she did not know she was giving birth
to her own death 20 years later-
a death that would silence those screams.
She lived a life without regrets,
but then, she had no memory.
It was bliss.
For if only he’d known she’d asked for him,
he wouldn’t have left Tara,
with Ashley alone & aggrieved,
the remnants of The Old South–
burnt and faded from Bonnie Blue
to bleached denim–
the last of which was
gone with the wind.
She was sorry she ever lied,
for because of her lie,
the lie became a truth.
For she’d wanted 7 children
& 1 husband,
but ended up with 7 husbands
& 1 child–
all because she had put
her husbands before the 1.
Subject & Verb had a disagreement,
for Dynamic Verb believed it was superior
to Static Subject,
until Verb realized that without a vessel,
his work could not be done.
Colon was feeling plugged up,
They walked into a bar,
where they ran into a few Grammar Nazis,
joining their party.
That night, they conceived the Semicolon,
who kept them merry with her many winks.
Haiku was reflective–
a woman of few syllables,
a mindful minimalist,
a practitioner of Zentangle;
Limerick was a jolly sort–
the intellectual equivalent
of Knock-Knock jokes–
& was full of puns & fun.
Between the 2,
realizing even though they were
from different cultures,
they were both still poetry.
She grew up on Mother Goose,
coming of age with Dylan Thomas.
She still saw the worth in the former,
for it fostered her love of poetry–
a love that would lead her to the latter.
He was a 52-story anthology,
she, a full-length novella.
Each had something to offer the reader:
he, short-term gratification,
& she, total immersion.
The lines in her face bespoke of hard times,
the smell of her perfume,
of better times,
the cadence of her voice,
the very best of times.
Her profile picture was that of her beautiful aunt overseas,
her profile, that of her imagination,
& everything she did, someone else,
somewhere, had done,
so that when someone came knocking,
they knew not who she was.
Every holiday, her son had sent her a postcard & sometimes a text—
but he’d died long ago, & another man had picked up where he’d left off;
where, she could not tell.
Like an unopened letter in a post office box,
she waited for someone to read her,
& when someone did,
it gave a glimpse into a girl’s elaborate world of hide-&-seek.
His wife had been a mystery,
whereas he was an open book.
When she was solved,
he closed himself up.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked:
who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
His God was her God,
but it was the error of his ways
that overruled her ways.
It was his control of her,
his lack of control over himself;
it was the waiting for a miracle,
well-past that mysterious eleventh hour
(like the thirteenth floor in Howard Roark’s world);
it was the seeing of miracles in randomness,
the believing in him,
the disbelief in inevitability;
it was serendipity misunderstood
and feelings misconstrued;
it was the cutting off,
it was the letting in,
and it was the string of short-lived stays of execution.
It was all these things.
Spring was the baby that grew up green,
Summer, the girl that burned blue,
Autumn, the lady of Calico,
& Winter, the snowy governess
of the spring babe.
Rosemary was a spring chicken,
Dill, a summer squash.
Thyme was a winter memory,
& Basil, a Beat Poet,
falling from the womb
There was something for everyone—
majestic blue mountains,
beaches of white or brown sugar sand,
the painted deserts of Madeline O’Keefe,
wide open spaces of Andrew Wyeth,
for it was a nation of immigrants–
all of whom could all find a piece
of what they’d left behind.
The stars were like white diamonds,
the water, a liquefied jewel,
the sand, infinitesimal crystal balls,
for in each,
was a world.
She was not homeless,
for her home was Planet Earth.
The clover grass was her bed,
a cleansing bath.
The moonshine was her lullaby,
a gentle nudge to wakefulness.
It was a home without walls,
& a ceiling without end.